What Meaning Will We Make of Putin's War in Ukraine?
What undergirds being a conscious human is knowing that we are human and being, head and heart, ego and soul. To be conscious is to know that our souls are in our bodies and are also connected to the vast energy outside our bodies, the soup in which we are all living our human lives right now, the same energy that connects us all to one another, the energy of All That Is. To be a conscious human is to bring this knowing into the nitty-gritty of everyday life. To be a conscious politics practitioner is to bring this knowing into the nitty-gritty of our everyday political lives which, these days, are consumed with war, which means death, which means different things to different people. Those on this path know that on an individual level, each of us gets born on purpose for a purpose, we have experiences and free will, and we leave our bodies when our purpose is completed. We are here for a reason. There are no accidents.
But what about when large groups of souls make their transitions en masse via large-scale events that garner the attention of millions and billions of us at once in a concentrated period of time? What might be the purpose of that? Well, it’s whatever we say it is. We cannot know or understand anything, for example, about the individual life purposes of the 230,000 souls who left their bodies within hours of the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004. But at least one purpose was created when their deaths galvanized humans in almost 170 countries to create a multitude of disaster risk reduction and preparedness programs and policies to prevent such profound destruction and loss of life in the future. Those who experienced it made it mean that an event like that need not happen again. They chose to create an opportunity to learn and grow.
From a mainstream point of view, America made a very different choice. America made what happened on 9/11 mean that we were vulnerable to threat indefinitely.
About 3,000 souls left their bodies within minutes of when planes flew into the World Trade Center towers in New York in September, 2001. While the site still smoldered and the din of the city’s ever-present car horns was solemnly silenced, I got as close as I could and went from there. I spent several days walking miles along just-erected chain link fencing, which now lined scores of blocks in all directions. It facilitated the flow of essential traffic to and from the site and became a makeshift memorial for everyone else who stuffed it with all manner of photos and flowers, prayers and pleas. This is my son. Do you know him? Do you know where he is? The shock and pain and desperation were thick yet there were also massive infusions of Light and Love permeating it all, softening it. We love you, New York. We are all Americans. We are from Helsinki and Bogota and Delhi and we hurt with you. NATO invoked its Article 5 for the first time in its history to defend the world’s sole superpower. I was in a prolonged state of gratitude and humility for having been able to witness and absorb such massive, sustained waves of Love and Light and Unity and Grace. I was about to explore a run for political office and I couldn’t stop thinking about the countless politcal and geopolitical opportunities before us to build upon such immense wells of global goodwill to create a world where terrorism — the enemy du jour — wouldn’t stand a chance.
Yeah, no. From a mainstream point of view, America made a very different choice. America made what happened on 9/11 mean that we were vulnerable to threat indefinitely. America made it mean that an infinitesimal number of wily humans worldwide, intent on doing political violence to us and others, were worthy of the world’s constant attention. The global war on terror. America assumed a war footing and, in all our names, invaded a country that had not been implicated in the 9/11 attacks and told we the people that we were either for shock and awe or against America. America made 9/11 about fear and color-coded threat levels and admonished its citizens to see and say things. America gave away civil liberties and privacy, created a massive new federal bureaucracy, stopped us from being able to walk Grandma to her gate at the airport, and reelected George W. Bush as a wartime president. Operating from the being part of the human I am, I thought the attacks meant a gargantuan opportunity for peacebuilding worldwide. Operating from their heads and egos, America’s political leaders thought the attacks meant it was time for violence and retribution, oblivious to or dismissive of the fact that everything is energy and like attracts like, which means violence and retribution can only breed more violence and retribution.
The being parts of us know that survivors of war are right where they’re supposed to be, living the lives the being parts of them came to live. Let us pray that all who have suffered, are suffering, and will suffer the ravages of war in Ukraine, Yemen, South Sudan, Syria, Libya, Ehtiopia — everywhere wars are still being fought — find healing and meaning in their experiences.
May all who are available to make meaning from Putin’s War make meaning that will bring healing to and propel our human family forward such as:
. war is never the answer
. authentic power must supplant external power
. the free flow of information is paramount
. America must decisively re-choose and rehabilitate its democracy
. independent journalism is critical
. NATO must invest in peacebuilding as a percentage of military spending
We could go on and we certainly will. But whatever meaning our human family ultimately makes of what is happening now in Ukraine, it is essential that it be made by the being parts of the human beings we are.